Although we wrote about Twitter possibly taking advantage of beacons before, it’s Facebook that’s currently pulling the trigger on the technology. According to an announcement on the Facebook business blog, the social media giant is now sending businesses free beacons that will work with their Place Tips program.
Place Tips essentially allows businesses to create a special and curated experience for people visiting a business or interested in doing so. Along with photos of the location shared by friends (should there actually be any), it also allows businesses to list upcoming events, selected posts and other items of interest. When combined with the Facebook Beacon, they’ll also see a welcome note and a prompt to checkin and like the business in question.
Facebook also states that:
The beacons don’t collect any information from people or their phones or change the kind of location information Facebook receives. They’re designed not to disrupt the operation of your Wi-Fi or other equipment… Only people who have enabled location services on their phone and have Bluetooth turned on will receive Place Tips from the beacon at your business.
This is a tiny bit disingenuous because the beacon doesn’t have to collect any data; anyone who logs into Facebook and uses Place Tips will be providing information via their mobile device. I would say there’s a 0% chance that Facebook won’t use this data to eventually bolster their conversion tracking efforts in addition to collecting shopping data about people.
The program is still in its infancy – it just now came out of a limited testing phase, which is why beacons are now potentially available to all businesses – so it’s fairly bare bones. However, the ability to create and display business specific ads and/or coupon codes can’t be far behind.